1 It is argued that minority
influence is the only type
of social influence which
causes social change.
1.1 This is because with majority
influence, the majority are
already in favour of the subject,
so there is no change, and with
obedience it is usually only one
or a few people obeying an
authority figure, therefore not
creating majority social change.
2 There are five main factors
which allow a minority to
influence social change:
2.2 2. Evidence of personal
commitment (and self-sacrifice).
2.3 3. Use of reasoned arguments
- evidence of understanding
other points of view.
2.4 4. Be similar to the majority
in terms of age, gender,
class and sometimes race.
2.5 5. Develop a
'snowball effect' -
2.5.1 In which the majority
forget how, why and
when they were
persuaded to agree so
they end up internalising
the views of the majority.
3 People who are or have been in high political
power are in a position of minority influence
over a large majority of the population.
3.1 Many of them show one or more of the five factors
that minorities use in influencing social change.
4 Gandhi showed personal commitment and self
sacrifice, Hitler showed consistency, Obama uses
reasoned arguments and Martin Luther King was
similar to the majority in terms of age, gender and class.
5 A study by Moscovici et al. found that
consistency is an important factor in
minority influence. They found that 8% of
the people in a group containing a minority
of consistent confederates who gave the
wrong answer conformed, whereas only
1% in a group where the minority gave the
wrong answer inconsistently.
5.1 Moscovici also found that consistent minorities
have an even greater influence on private attitudes.
5.1.1 Enter text here
5.1.2 This shows that when influenced by a minority, a person does
not only comply, they also internalise the opinions given.
6 Research by Nemeth and Kwan found that
when participants are doing tasks which require
divergent thinking, minority influence leads to
better performance than majority influence.
6.1 It is easier to follow what one person is
doing than what a group of people are doing.